This was my first year ever attending the Charleston Conference, as well as my first time in Charleston! I have to say that though the hybrid experience was strange, I appreciate the efforts of the Charleston Conference planning committee to provide both in-person and online options. It was reassuring when grabbing my conference badge that my vaccination certificate was checked. This is honestly more than what many large airports are doing!

It was also more helpful than I expected to be able to go back and view the presentations to jog my memory. I found I could be more present due to not having to take notes. This conference did emphasize something that I’ve already noticed, now more than ever before I have such a hard time paying attention to long presentations (formal or informal). I really loved that the Charleston Conference offered many blocks with ‘Stopwatch Sessions’ (think lightning talks). These stopwatch sessions consisted of 4 sessions that were 6 minutes and 40 seconds in length. This not only kept me engaged but simultaneously made me feel so productive being able to see that many presentations in a 45 min block. 

Morgan & I attended two business librarian socials while at Charleston. One happy hour sponsored by Data Axel (formerly Reference USA), and one dinner by Gale. Though only a small group of business librarians attended Charleston, we had a great time and were without a doubt a merry bunch. It felt so great to be able to network in-person again!

Here is an overview of my favorite sessions that I attended:

    • Earlier this year, I was invited by Steve Cramer to join and submit a panel proposal to Charleston. This panel consisted of both us, Corey Seeman (University of Michigan) and Sara Hess (Penn State). I hesitated to join in on this panel because my day to day is filled to the brim with instruction and outreach compared to the time I spend considering collections. But, this turned out to be a good challenge and was a fun and casual collaboration. It was a much needed opportunity to reflect on collections decisions I’ve made and have yet to make, as well as what our patrons want/expect. To prepare for this, I looked back on emails and notes related to our current collections budget and strategy, and discussed with Morgan. Honestly, the best part for me was working with business librarians who are very knowledgeable and articulate about collections and vendor negotiations and getting to learn from them. The presentation itself was slightly awkward, as the technology in the room required each of us panelists to have to log into individual computers to live-stream and record. As a panelist, it was challenging to juggle dealing with the tech (of course a simple mute of the microphone wasn’t enough, we also needed to mute the computer’s speaker due to feedback), look into the camera, monitor the chat, and make eye contact with the physical attendees in the room! But, we had good engagement both physically and online, so what more can we ask for! *Thanks to Carol, Roz and Morgan for showing up for support!
      • These two presentations go hand in hand, they’re both sponsored by Lean Library, the first of which was less of a sales pitch, the second being two case studies of how Harvard and Uni of North Alabama use Lean Library Futures integration (a browser extension). Overall the core of the discussion, embedding the library in the users’ workflow, related well to my thoughts around my upcoming classes related to authentic learning practices and situations. I especially liked the presentations because they challenged commonly held assumptions of librarians/libraries in this regard.
      • My favorite part of this presentation was when one of the presenters discussed patrons’ thinking styles and how this affects the design of our discovery tools. The panelist used two examples: one patron whose thinking style may be curious and exploratory where another patron’s thinking style may be more focused and task-based. Each of these patrons would have a different research approach and have different experiences. 
      • I also really appreciated the question that another of the presenters posed which was whether discovery or delivery is more important for libraries to focus on. He cited a previous presentation that asked the same question but argued that libraries had lost their attempt to be the best at discovery and should now embrace delivery when considering our (libraries’) competitive advantage. 
      • This big question was a great segway to the last presenter who discussed how libraries should think differently and go from thinking about getting more users in the building and having users start their research on the libraries’ website to thinking about getting users to the ‘right’ or validated version of something. He proposed that to work towards this goal, we should consider what a seamless workflow looks like for users. Ultimately, this statement alone really challenges many commonly held assumptions and desired outcomes for many librarians/libraries. 
      • The previous sessions aligned well with the second keynote where Joy Connolly, the President of the American Council for Learned Societies, discussed many ideas that also challenge librarians, and publishers, ideas about scholarship. She prompted the audience to think differently about the accepted definition and formats of scholarship in the name of inclusion as doing so will allow scholarship to speak to more diverse audiences. 
      • Connolly suggested that librarians can shape and amplify non-traditional, non-specialized and non-solitary research by:
        •  utilizing our roles as connectors and our spaces (connecting academics and non-academics), 
        • joining in the efforts for developing forms of, and resources for, digital facing, public and collaborative research, and 
        • Lastly, continuing working on improved access to scholarship. 
      • This talk really spoke to me. As someone who works in academia, but doesn’t consider oneself a true ‘academic’, I can see how thinking differently in these ways is more inclusive and opens the doors to innovation, but also is hard for the profession as doing so questions many aspects of traditional librarianship, information literacy, etc. But, I am on board and will be keeping this talk in mind.
    • I loved this session from the InfoDJs! Apparently they have presented many times at previous Charleston Conferences, but this was my first time learning of them. They shared a variety of open resources, many of which I can easily see using for instruction related to social issues, social media and more including: 
    • This presentation utilized an informal, fun and engaging presentation style that I wish I made-up and want to utilize for a future conference proposal. The InfoDJ’s really hit the point home though. These open resources are fantastic, but the main problem is awareness and marketing! More people need to know about them. All resources I’ve mentioned above and more from this presentation are  listed here: